2016

January 5, 2017

Why ‘La La Land’ is Going to Clean Up this Awards Season

*Post Oscar Update 2-27-17*

*I was partially correct, 14 nominations and six wins isn’t too shabby, and even after the Best Picture snafu, “La La Land” came out in the wash clean as hell.*

Hollywood award season is upon us with the Golden Globes set for this coming Sunday, January 8th, 2017. After the snafu that was #OscarsSoWhite and the conclusion of the drama about Leonardo DiCaprio receiving his first Oscar, we might have an Oscar telecast with a little more diversity, but we’ll see how that goes.

While 2016 provided us some great films with minorities in the lead role such as “Moonlight” and “Lion” and female-driven fare like “Edge of Seventeen” and “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” there is one film heads and tails above the rest, and it will be heavily rewarded this award season, and that film is “La La Land.”

This is not me saying that “Land” is bad; it’s not; its utterly fantastic, I nearly wept during the opening dance number it was so beautiful, (hopefully Another Day of Sun is up for Best Song at the Oscars). However, if history has anything to do with anything, the deck is stacked in favor of “Land,” and here are some of the reasons:

1) Hollywood loves to pat itself on the back. “Land” for the most part is a throwback to old Hollywood. It’s dancing set-pieces will leave you in awe, the music is infectious, (as I listen to the soundtrack of course) and it’s a classic story of following your dreams, despite the hardships and trials and tribulations. This is the classic Hollywood story.

2)  Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone are pure and utter joy. This is their third, and for my money best, collaboration. They are natural fits for one another and play off each other so well it’s a mesmerizing things to watch. Gosling has always had stage presence and after “The Nice Guys” there’s no doubt about his comedy chops. Stone has gone from “hmmm, okay, she might be good one day,” to “oh man, she’s really good.” The more I think about it, Stone is more of the revelation where she carries a greater weight in this film and her story hits harder when it comes to actresses in the Hollywood system. She was good in “Birdman” but she’s great in “Land.”

3) It was a struggle to get this film off the ground. It took Damien Chazelle years to get this film going, and it will be commended when the time for awards comes around. Not to forget to mention the fact that while the film is a classic Hollywood film, making of the film is nearly as classic. It’s about as Hollywood as it gets.

4) The soundtrack is wonderful. If “Hamilton” was the hit soundtrack of Broadway in 2016, “Land” is the hit soundtrack of Hollywood in 2016. “Land’s” soundtrack is an experience and will be awarded as such.

5) The final point is going to piggyback on my first point. In the past seven years at the Oscars the Academy has awarded films well when it comes to films paying homage to Hollywood; “The Artist” in 2011, “Argo” in 2012 and “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) in 2014. While “Birdman” takes more shots at how Hollywood treats actors, nonetheless, it’s a film about Hollywood and all press, is good press.

“The Artist” was at least to me a gimmick film. A silent film made in the day and age of loud Hollywood blockbusters. While I’m not a huge fan, I can understand how people can feel nostalgic for a bygone era.

“Argo” was the ultimate way for Hollywood to fellate themselves. No, I am not saying “Argo” is a bad film, in fact I loved it and it was the catalyst for the re-rising of Ben Affleck’s Q Rating (even though the writing was on the wall with “Gone Baby Gone” and “The Town,” previously). However, the film is about Hollywood people saving the lives of people in a foreign country overtaken by “the bad guys.” It’s a whimsical tale of how Hollywood saved the day in a story that seems almost too Hollywood to be real…yet, it was.

“Birdman” did it’s best to shit all over the way that Hollywood tosses out old actors after they are done using them up, but despite that, it was impossible to ignore the painstaking process of making this film. The acting was great, the direction was great, the message, while I’m sure it miffed Hollywood, had to be commended for what it was; a film that was hard to make and a technical achievement.

“Land” fits the bill as the film to beat. In a year that was full of despair and woefulness, “Land” is the silver lining. It’s got comedy, tragedy, dancing, singing, some great acting and it hits on the idea that you can still go to Hollywood and have all of your dreams come true, but it adds that bittersweet touch. It appeals to idealists, dreamers, and pessimists; it appeals to humanity in these unsure times where a dream is still something to hold onto. Thus, “La La Land” will be your big winner come this award season, and for good reason.

January 5, 2017

3 Simplistic Things: December 2016

2016 has come to a merciful end, and as we head into the wilderness that is 2017, it’s time to see what happened in December, spoiler, more bad news…

Never Gonna Dance Again…
You might call 2016 “The Year the Music Died.”
To Me….She’s Royalty
“Hope is not lost today….it is found.”
Unsinkable

That’s 2016 in a nutshell. A series of kicks to the groin and the loss of people that we’ll all fondly remember.
December 31, 2016

(Ep. 81): Year End Wrap Up Mini Show – December 2016

This is it guys and girls, the end of an era! The piece of shit known as 2016 is dead. 2016 was nothing but a douche to us all. Think about it, all horrible and horrific stuff. Don’t believe me? Fine. Let me ask you, name one thing that was good about 2016?
Still waiting…
Anything?
Yeah we feel you. So to end the year and ring in a new one we have a Mini End of the Year Wrap Up Show! A podcast that wraps up the shitty year of movies into a bite size appetizer to welcome in 2017!
Thank you everyone who has listened this year. We appreciate your support and we have a lot planned for 2017.

“I know it was you, 2016. You broke my heart. You broke my heart.”

December 20, 2016

CUTTING ROOM FLOOR – From Podcast Ep. 79

A little snipped from Podcast Ep. 79 ends up on the CUTTING ROOM FLOOR!
Topic “Suicide Squad False Start
AKA This movie isn’t worth our time

Podcast 79 

Suicide Squad – Extended Cut

2 hours, 14 minutes

Seriously? Yes I don’t know why but we did another WB extended-we-don’t-give-you-the-full-movie-the-first-time-cut.

What to say about a poorly made film. I mean a 8 year old with iMovie could do a better editing job.

And I feel bad for bringing the 8 year old this luckluster piece of crap.

DJ says it the best. “This is the biggest disappointment of the year”.

So we know you really do not want to watch this film again but hell we gave it a try. So this Sunday Funday Movie Night lets give it a GO!

All Board the WB shitliner one more time!
This time the
S. S. We fooled you again…HAHAHA (Shitty Joker laugh)
Don’t worry, this time we have Ted Lange as Your Bartender
December 19, 2016

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (Matt’s Take)

Rogue One – Tough

TOUGH

2015 brought about the resurgence of a franchise literally dragging itself out of the fiery pits of Mustafar. “The Force Awakens” was a worldwide phenomenon; it bridged the gap between successful animated fare like “The Clone Wars” and “Rebels” and washed the taste out of the mouths of fans still angry and beating their plastic lightsabers on the dead horse that were the Star Wars prequels. Since the Lucasfilm/Disney purchase that was so highly touted/publicized/argued, everything has been coming roses for the Star Wars Universe and its fans. Plus, now anything that can be Star Wars, IS Star Wars. Pet clothing, lawnmowers, coffee pots, I”m sure there are even Star Wars-themed Fleshlights out there. I mean come on, one can dream, can’t they?

My point is that Star Wars has taken over again. Add in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and Disney is literally printing money with pictures of Mickey Mouse on it, hey, in a couple of years, the way we are going, that might end up being a legit form of currency.

Oh it’s a great time to be alive if you’re a fanboy of fangirl.

With all the success that Star Wars has had since it came out of the wilderness following the perceived failure that were the prequel films, there are many that wondered; “When will they slip up?” Much like the MCU, there have been many films where people though the shine was coming off, “Iron Man 3,” “Thor: The Dark World,” and even “Ant-Man” were films that many can point to where the chinks in the armor were starting to show. And unlike “Star Wars” this was bound to happen with Marvel when introducing characters that were so fringe that it’s almost impossible to find a captive audience, of course “Guardians of the Galaxy” is the exception and not the rule.

This brings me to “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” the first in what is bound to be many stories, and the 2nd film in the “One-Star-Wars-Film-A-Year-Until-The-Day-We-Die” series. Of course that might sound a little snarky, but in this day and age if you aren’t snarky you aren’t a member of this horrible, horrible Internet that was been created.

So was “Rogue One” good? Yes……and no. As a “Star Wars” fan, of course I loved this film. It finally brought the “War” to “Star Wars.” Sure, you get to see “The Clone Wars” in the “Prequel-that-won’t-be-named,” and who really wants to relive that….

The premise is simple. A band of bad-ass ruffnecks are tasked with stealing the plans to a planet-destroying weapon and thwarting an evil army. It’s really as simple as that, The only difference between this film and any other action or sci-fi film that has the same exact plot is that it takes place in the Star Wars Universe. I know….it sounds bad to equate it that simply, but that is exactly what we have here. If this was any other film franchise people would be bashing this film into the ground, but since it’s the holy grail of science fiction mythology, the literal scared cow of cinema, the bashing will be light by most reviewers.

With the finished product that is “Rogue One” we can see why the production might have been a little troubled. This is a dark film; this is a war film, and coming off “The Force Awakens” you can see where they tried to lighten the mood with some cameo appearances that I won’t spoil, the gallows humor of K-2SO helps, but nonetheless, this is still a dark film that of course brings up the comparison to “The Empire Strikes Back,” which in the scheme of things, chronologically, works very well for the canon where you have “A New Hope” now book-ended by two very dark entries.

One of my biggest gripes, and this is similar to a gripe that I have with the MCU as well, is the need for audiences to know EVERYTHING about the universe in order to grasp all the intricacies and “wink-wink nod-nod” moments that fans will love, while casual fans will be left out in the cold. I understand that you have to include fan service, but “Rogue One” is the victim of too much fan service without providing an explanation to crucial plot points. One of the biggest is the use of Kyber Crystals and why they are so important to the universe. Never once, in the history of the FILM universe have Kyber Crystals been spoken about, unless I’m mistaken. Yes, I know, they are used to power a Jedi or Sith’s lightsaber. I know that because I KNOW “Star Wars” and do the research. But this is explained more in the prequel book to “Rogue One,” “Catalyst” where Kyber Crystals are explained to a larger degree and how they do more then just power lightsabers.

Characterization was also lacking for the most part. We see glimpses of motivations for characters like Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) and Cassian Andor (Diego Luna), and the duo of Chirrut Imwe and Baze Malbus (who I would LOVE to see a Star Wars Story about them) are my highlights. But in a film where you pretty much know the end result, I assume this was done on purpose because, SPOILER ALERT, a lot of people don’t make it. With that, to truly understand the motivation for these characters is pretty inconsequential, but that to me, is also a shortcoming of “Rogue One.”

Even with the run-time being two hours and 15 minutes, there were plenty of times where the action could have been dialed back, and we could have gotten to know these characters a little better. Gareth Edwards knows how to do a lot with a little, “Monsters” is a great example of how he was able to generate tension without having to show anything, but with “Rogue One,” he chose to go the route of “let’s blow up a lot of shit” instead of getting intimate with his wonderful characters. Maybe he felt like he was only going to be able to play in this sandbox once so it was balls-to-the-wall, which is understandable, and I might be in the minority of the person liking bigger and better booms and out-of-this-world CG, but characters come first, especially for a film universe that prides itself on it’s mythology.

Overall, for being the first “Star Wars Story” this is a worthy effort despite it’s flaws. This is a Star Wars film for fans, made by fans, and that might be one of the biggest issues. Even with the oversight of Disney, I think the inmates ran the asylum a little too much in “Rogue One” and caused this film to feel disjointed, rushed, and wasted the chance to flesh out new characters and instead chose to do it with a different medium, namely a book and cartoon series, “Catalyst” and “The Clone Wars,” respectively. I can’t knock Disney for trying to tie in their collective mediums, shit, I’m sure there are tons of people buying the e-book or the hardback for “Catalyst” today or binge-watching “Clone Wars,” but I don’t like having to study for a test in order to understand a film as a whole.

I’ll likely give this film another shot in the theater, but unlike my seven screenings of “The Force Awakens” in the theater in 2015/2016, this will be so I can catch all the things I missed. I want to like “Rogue One,” but this was a tough film to get behind, even for the die-hard in me. “Rogue One” is the blueprint, which despite it’s flaws, is still very watchable and will make fans happy as we finally know what happened to the rebels that gave their lives to help the rebellion.

December 11, 2016

(Ep. 79): Suicide Squad – Extended Cut – Movie Commentary: December 2016

Suicide Squad – Extended Cut

2 hours, 14 minutes

Seriously? Yes I don’t know why but we did another WB extended-we-don’t-give-you-the-full-movie-the-first-time-cut.

What to say about a poorly made film. I mean a 8 year old with iMovie could do a better editing job.

And I feel bad for bringing the 8 year old this luckluster piece of crap.

DJ says it the best. “This is the biggest disappointment of the year”.

So we know you really do not want to watch this film again but hell we gave it a try. So this Sunday Funday Movie Night lets give it a GO!

All Board the WB shitliner one more time!
This time the
S. S. We fooled you again…HAHAHA (Shitty Joker laugh)
Don’t worry, this time we have Ted Lange as Your Bartender!  
Suicide Squad
It feels good to be bad…Assemble a team of the world’s most dangerous, incarcerated Super Villains, provide them with the most powerful arsenal at the government’s disposal, and send them off on a mission to defeat an enigmatic, insuperable entity. U.S. intelligence officer Amanda Waller has determined only a secretly convened group of disparate, despicable individuals with next to nothing to lose will do. However, once they realize they weren’t picked to succeed but chosen for their patent culpability when they inevitably fail, will the Suicide Squad resolve to die trying, or decide it’s every man for himself?

A secret government agency, led by the ruthless, high-ranking official Amanda Waller, recruits some of the most dangerous, incarcerated villains on the planet to execute dangerous black ops missions and save the world from a potentially apocalyptic threat from a mysterious, supernatural entity. If anything goes wrong on this mission, the government will not be liable but rather can place the blame on the villains, who are inherently evil people. A small bomb is implanted in each member of the squad’s neck with the capability of detonating any time one of the members tries to rebel or escape. It will be up to this assembled team of villains to prevail over the seemingly impossible events that will unfold before them, in what many deem to be a “suicide mission”.

December 7, 2016

3 Simplistic Things: November 2016

We are approaching the New Year at a feverish pitch, and while November might not have gone the way that a lot of people wanted it to go, at least you can say 2017 can’t get any worse….or can it?

Netflix on the Go….go


It’s difficult to think of a time before Netflix, or streaming, or social media, or just the endless need for people to be needed and/or cut off from the rest of the world because they need to be looking down at their phone. rant end. However, now that Netflix is facing stiffer competition from the likes of Amazon Instant, it was only a matter of time before downloading and taking on the go would be an option for Big Red.

Kanye Being Kanye

So Kanye West cancelled a bunch of his tour dates after people booed him in California for saying that if he did vote, he would have voted for Donald Trump. How could he be so heartless? I mean I’m not saying he’s a gold digger, but with all the flashing lights, he really should be stronger….he sucks. (Not from one of his songs….yet)

This Brings Me To…..

 …aka, beating a dead horse…

kthnxbye guys

November 25, 2016

CUTTING ROOM FLOOR – From Podcast Ep. 78 (Part 2 of 2)

Part 2 of 2 from Podcast Ep. 78 ends up on the CUTTING ROOM FLOOR!
Topic “Grandpa Poop

On this Thanksgiving episode of the Simplistic Reviews Podcast, the boys talk about turkey and Donald Trump…A Minecraft movie and Donald Trump…Shelley Duvall and Donald Trump and who would win in a fight between Dracula and the Wolfman…oh and we also genuflect to our new Presidential overlord Donald J. Drumpf…all that and more on a turkey day episode of the Simplistic Reviews Podcast.  And that wasn’t a typo, by the way.  Donald Trump’s real name is Drumpf…these are facts.

November 20, 2016

(Ep. 78): SR Podcast – November 2016

FOR MATURE AUDIENCES

On this Thanksgiving episode of the Simplistic Reviews Podcast, the boys talk about turkey and Donald Trump…A Minecraft movie and Donald Trump…Shelley Duvall and Donald Trump and who would win in a fight between Dracula and the Wolfman…oh and we also genuflect to our new Presidential overlord Donald J. Drumpf…all that and more on a turkey day episode of the Simplistic Reviews Podcast.  And that wasn’t a typo, by the way.  Donald Trump’s real name is Drumpf…these are facts.

NOTES
Al Bundy Fights
Wolfman’s Got Nards

All Your Base Are Belong To Us
Chickens Have Come Home To Roost

MUSIC
Hail To The Chief
The Incredible Hulk Theme By Daniel Caine Orchestra
Beast Atoms By L-Beazt
Sharp Minds By L-Beazt
Cocaine Model By ZHU
By The Croft By Joakim Karud

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November 7, 2016

3 Simplistic Things: October 2016

Halloween has come and gone, and so we enter the final two months of the year, including a big election the likes of which many of us have never seen before (yes, Obama was a big deal). But now we have to deal with the decision of electing a e-mail-deleting “nasty woman” or a xenophobic, racist in a red Made in China “Make America Great Again.”

“Moore” of the Same
From our good friend Michael Moore comes another documentary about our failed political landscape. More in line to a college commencement speech, “Michael Moore in Trumpland” essentially rails on Trump while “praising” Clinton. But you be the one to decide.
Tarantino’s Dead…pool
This is something weird that was floating around the Internet last month after the news broke the Time Miller had left “Deadpool 2.” Of course fanboys blew their load on the likelihood that one of the last great directors we have working today would throw his hat into the ring on a comic book sequel…but c’mon.
Gimme Five!
Well, this was news just because of the shear insanity of adapting a book that is only 128-pages and squeezing not two, not three, not even four, but FIVE films out of “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.” But never underestimate the power of Potter-heads.
That’s me for this month…kthnxbye.
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